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sanctions against syria in their effort to stop its civil war. welcome to nhk world "newsline." representatives of nations putting the squeeze on the syrian government have met all over the world. their latest gathering brought them here to japan. the delegates worked on their strategy to push president bashar al assad out of office and ultimately end the bloodshed. on one hand, they're strengthening sangings. on the other, they're reaffirming their support for opposition forces. nhk world's akira saheki reports. >> reporter: delegates from more than 60 countries are attending the conference, including representatives from the gulf region and the west. they've met several times before, but this is the first time they've gathered in asia. the japanese government hosted the conference to help broaden the base of international support for sanctions against syria. >> translator: the international community has been asking the syrian government to end the violence. but the assad regime is continuing the fight, ignoring the sacrifices of its people. we need to unify our efforts and
problems it's unclear how deeply the u.s. will engage on global issues such as syria, iran or china. u.s. relations with the outside world there are more difficult challenges to come. nhk world, washington. >>> president obama won, but he faces many economic challenges. we now ask an expert's view about his outlook. in our new york studio is richard katz, the editor in chief of the oriental economist report, newsletter on japan. mr. katz, thank you very much for joining us today. >> sure. >> among the many challenges president obama will first face the so-called fiscal cliff. how do you think he'll deal with it, and how will that affect asia? >> i think it will be very difficult to deal with it. the republicans have made it clear they continue to want to be the party of no. they're not willing to compromise on a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. i say there's about a 50/50 chance the fiscal cliff could be avoided. at best it may be extended by a few months. if the fiscal cliff is short and then people come to their senses and compromise, the impact on asia will be small. but
intensified in syria. government troops responded with fierce air attacks in towns around the air base. a london human rights group says 40,000 people have been killed since march of last year. >>> japanese police and prosecutors are building their case against a woman they say was the mastermind behind a kidnapping, torture and murder ring. investigators say miyoko sumida preyed on people close to her, that she's responsible for keeping them confined and physically abused and that she orchestrated as many as nine deaths. prosecutors indicted her on tuesday on the charge of dumping the body of a man in the sea. police found the body in a concrete-filled drum in the waters over okihama prefecture. investigators suspect sumida, who is 64, kept the man confined in her condominium in amagasaki in hyogo prefecture and that she orchestrated his abuse and death. prosecutors also indicted her husband, sister-in-law and sons. investigators say victims were held in her condo against their will, deprived of food and water and physically abused before they died. in most cases they say relatives of
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